7 lifestyle habits you didn’t know could be ageing your skin
Usually wrinkles and fine lines, the most visible signs of ageing, are caused when collagen and elastin break down as you age (which causes a loss of elasticity). But sometimes the little things, like not wearing your prescription glasses or drinking with a straw, can also leave behind tell-tale grooves on your face. Here are some of the causes for skin ageing you probably didn’t know about.
1) Lifting heavy weights
“While lifting weights and exercising are good for your body and overall health, the strong facial movements made during weight lifting and exercising can aggravate wrinkles, cause collagen breakdown and make your skin age faster,” says Dr Apratim Goel, dermatologist and laser surgeon, Cutis Skin Solution, Mumbai. Skin and muscles are adhered to each other and when you put your muscles into excessive strain, the collagen bundles under skin are torn, thus causing fine lines and wrinkles, she says.
2) Eating too many salt and sugar-rich foods
Excessive salt and sugar are known to cause several health issues ranging from blood pressure to insulin spikes and crashes. “Salt also causes water retention and dehydrates your skin, thus making it prone to stretching and lines. Eating sugar causes an insulin spike in your body that again speeds up ageing by causing the breakdown of the the protein fibres, collagen and elastin in our skin,” says Dr Goel. These foods can cause inflammation in the body and through a process called glycation, in which sugars bind to collagen and elastin, which weakens them.
3) Not wearing corrective glasses or sunglasses
“If you have far or near vision error, you must wear the corrective glasses. If you don’t, every time you try to squint your eyes to focus, you strain the muscles around the eyes, which get tired and cause dark circles and fine lines,” says Dr Goel. Skipping sunglasses while you’re out will also not help. Plus, sun can hurt the thin skin around the eyes the fastest, making it important to shield them when possible.
4) Spending too much time in front of a screen
“Visible light and the blue light from your screens also age our skin over time, so it is important to wear sunscreen indoors too,” says Dr Goel. And it’s not just the blue light that you need to worry about. “It is always tempting to lay on the bed and look down at the screens or hold the mobile in your lap while checking social media. But this practice leads to creases and folds to appear on the neck and gives a sagging jowl area. Keep gadgets at eye level when browsing or typing,” says Dr Rinky Kapoor, cosmetic dermatologist and dermato-surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics.
5) Sleeping face-down
Side-sleepers or stomach-sleepers can lose facial volume, or even change the shape of a side of their face. Fine lines can also form when you smash your face into a pillow, thanks to the weight of your head pressing onto the skin.
6) Using a straw
Using a straw to drink isn’t just harmful to the environment, it can cause fine lines around the mouth too. “The lip pursing movement can cause vertical lines around the area,” says Dr Kapoor. The orbicularis oris muscle around the mouth gets pulled, so the skin on top of that gets burrows, which can cause creases.
Nicotine in cigarettes causes a narrowing of blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin, which can cause impaired circulation. This weaker blood supply means less oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which can cause collagen and elastin to deteriorate. Plus, puckering and rounding your lips to smoke can cause lines too.